EIGHT people have been arrested in the Valencia area on suspicion of belonging to a ‘sextortion’ gang.
The detentions took place in the capital city, Torrent and Xirivella, plus another three in the Andalucia city of Jaen.
Among those arrested in southern Spain, but officially resident in the capital of the Valencia region, is the alleged head of the sexual extortion gang.
Known as ‘El Faku’, the young suspect was detained after a two-year police investigation in which officers uncovered a wealth of self-incriminating evidence posted by the alleged leader himself on his social network platforms.
‘El Faku’ reportedly called himself ‘the Messi of Work’, in reference to the Barcelona football club star and with ‘Work’ as the name given to the practice of obtaining personal contact details of unsuspecting clients through fake prostitution adverts.
This information is then used to blackmail the victims into paying for non-existent services, threatening with severe violence and with informing the client’s family if they refuse to pay up.
To appear more convincing, the members of the gang are said to have used photographs of tough-looking Eastern European gangsters as their Whatsapp profile pictures.
Victims were ordered to pay anywhere between €100 and a whopping €80,000, to be transferred to bank accounts used by so-called ‘mules’ – low-income collaborators who in return received a mere €50 to €100 for their services.
But it was all a hoax, as there were no mafia-style heavies waiting to visit the non-paying victim or any intention of telling their families about what was happening.
As a result, ‘El Faku’ boasted about making up to €50,000 a month without getting his hands dirty and without having to share the profits.
Police reveal that the chief suspect openly declared ‘I’m a criminal’ on his Instagram account, also posting videos of himself firing a gun from a moving car.
The authorities reveal that this kind of fraud is on the rise in Spain, with numerous arrests made throughout the country in recent months.